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Anne McGuinness Kearse

Taking on, and changing the behaviour of notoriously predatory industries.... fighting on the front lines of the public interest movement. 

Anne McGuinness Kearse, with more than 20 years experience fighting for social justice and safety is undoubtedly one of the most senior leaders in one of South Carolina's and the nation's top litigation firms, Motley Rice.  

“From day one, my late mentor, Ron Motley, challenged me to strive for excellence in everything I do for my clients. It’s not just the right thing to do – my absolute best is what my clients deserve as we work together to achieve justice,” 

She strives tirelessly to promote safer products, safer work places and safer living environments for workers and their families in complex civil litigation involving toxic chemical exposures and occupational injuries and diseases, including asbestos exposure and catastrophic workplace accidents. Deeply involved in her law firm's prescription opioid cases  she represents all levels of government in litigating against manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies who conspired to misrepresent the dangers of highly addictive opioid medications. 

Anne McGuinness Kearse. Original painting 2020. Collection of the artist.

Devoted from an early age to public service she worked as  a litigation researcher and paralegal spending a lot of time digging through old files in warehouses, attics and at the Library of Congress and talking to workers and their families harmed by asbestos or other toxins. She later enrolled at law school at the University of South Carolina, determined to take her accumulated experience to another level and use it as a voice for victims.. to advocate for them in the courtroom. 

Once established in private practice, Mona Lisa Wallace, a Public Justice past President introduced her to the Public Justice Foundation, a national non-profit law firm that pursues important cases combating social and economic injustice. Since then she has been a board member, treasurer,  Executive Committee member, and served as President in 2016-2017, coordinating with members, allies and other supporters to make lasting, positive change while pushing back against those who oppose universal access to the courts. 

Her focus as President helped ensured Public Justice’s role as a leader among those organizations who strive to preserve class actions, fight arbitration and end court secrecy and other barriers to civil justice. 

As a member of the American Association for Justice’s Women’s Trial Lawyer Caucus Anne facilitated the founding of a Women’s Caucus for the South Carolina Association for Justice in 2012 and served as its first chair. She also leads Motley Rice’s collaboration with the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety (NCOSH) to help workers nationwide who were injured or killed in workplace accidents, or exposed to toxic chemical flavourings. 

Among her most personally meaningful victories is a 2002 verdict against Union Carbide, holding the company liable for exposing workers to unreasonably dangerous conditions at five of its West Virginia worksites and she is particularly proud of representing family members of asbestos victims, who were exposed secondhand, and who sometimes didn’t develop mesothelioma until years after their family member stopped working in contaminated spaces. 


Anne is steadfastly following a life-long path, fighting injustice and standing up for those who have been wronged

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